Angry Market Traders Tackle Council Over Cuts

A PETITION set up in protest at plans to cut the provision of market stalls in Ely was handed in to East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) this week. The petition carried the signatures of more than 1500 people and was handed in to councillors at a m

A PETITION set up in protest at plans to cut the provision of market stalls in Ely was handed in to East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) this week.

The petition carried the signatures of more than 1500 people and was handed in to councillors at a meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee on Tuesday evening.

The petition was set up to force the council to look again at its decision to stop providing free market stalls to traders as they believed it would "destroy" the market and drive away traders and shoppers from the city.

Market stall holder Chris Davis, said: "I have been selling watches on the collectables market for eight years but I am going to have to give it up because I don't have my own stall and won't be able to buy and transport a new one.

"They are going to be putting a lot of people out of business and on to the dole queue and from what I have seen they just don't seem to care. They talk about having 30 or 40 traders on a waiting list but from what I have heard that just isn't the case."

Initial reports suggested that cutting the free stalls would save the council just �3,300 annually but at a meeting last week it was revealed that the actual figure, with staffing costs incorporated, came in at around �32,000.

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Ely resident Ted Coney, said withdrawing the stalls would be an "own goal" for the council,

"Officers have talked about introducing more stalls and a range of different markets but it is not going to be possible if they don't provide the traders with the stalls.

"On Thursdays and Saturdays people come in to the city to visit the market and they often go into other cafes and shops afterwards. If you take the market stalls away people will stop coming and the city will suffer."

Speaking in defence of the move head of Community Services, Darren Dixon, said:

"We are justifiably proud of our market operation in Ely and acknowledge that its success depends on the cooperation between traders and market organisers, however, we believe that the proposed changes will enable us to build on the success and ensure the lasting viability of Ely markets."

The petition is still running and can be signed at a number of Post Offices across the region as well as at Ely market on Saturday.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

How important are the markets to Ely's economy and the vibrancy of the city?

Write to: The Ely Standard (markets) 38 Market Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4LS or email: editor@ely-standard.co.uk

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